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New v Old: Which home should I choose?


Opting for a new build home or a period property is one of the biggest choices house- hunters can find themselves having to make – so which has the edge? We asked Andrea Gardner, Sales & Marketing Director at Waterstone Homes, to share her thoughts.


What’s the appeal of new build homes?


Being the first person to live in a property obviously comes with its benefits, providing homeowners with a clean environment that they can move into right away. New builds offer energy efficiency and minimal maintenance for easy living. Buying off plan gives the customer a personal influence in choices which can be implemented if purchasing at the right stage of build. These changes can include kitchens and bathrooms, to name but a few, which have a clear visual impact. Essentially, a new build provides a blank canvas to easily make a home your own.


Why do you think some people favour period properties? People who prefer older homes often do so because they have a desire for period features or favour the ‘character’ and ‘charm’ which has inevitably been developed over time, not forgetting location and the matured street scene which play key roles. However, they can fail to plan for the added cost required to match an older property to today’s new build efficiencies - after all, you can’t change the bricks and mortar.


When investing to upgrade an old property to bring it up to the 21st Century, buyers often forget an added bone of contention -VAT at 20%, i.e. for every £50,000 spent, there is another £10,000 to pay out. The average cost to bring a property up-to-date could be in the region of £30,000-£100,000 (not considering the VAT). This cost could be part of what is needed to buy a brand-new home and be able to enjoy life immediately. Remember, not all builders offer you a box for sale. Waterstone Homes prides itself in retaining the charm and detail of period properties that buyers favour. You only need to look at our developments like Chapters in Dinas Powys and Ffynnon Ganna in Pontcanna, to see what it is possible to achieve.


What should buyers be careful of with new builds? Before committing to a new build, prospective buyers should do their research on the best property developers in their region and visit some of their other


sites, rather than relying solely on their promotional material for the development on sale. Also try and get to speak with someone who has bought a home from the particular developer.


It is important to check what is included and remember items can change for many reasons so it is good to keep in contact with the Sales Negotiator. New build developers are in abundance, and people can have a misconception that new means perfect – it doesn’t! A new house is a man-made product and we can expect issues to arise while the new home dries out, which can take up to 24 months. A home owner will need to maintain elements of shrinkage, slabbing, movement, etc but this is very little compared to maintenance to older properties. At Waterstone Homes, our specification is renowned throughout the industry and we give customers the opportunity to add upgrades such as wood burning stoves throughout the build process, while elements like wardrobes, Master Bedrooms and branded white goods are standard.


It is key to do your research to compare what else is out there. Waterstone Homes prides itself on style and design. Talking to professional designers and clients ensures we change and lead to implement a well-designed home that can match and exceed any new home in its range.


What about safety features for new and old homes? Safety is a top priority nowadays and new builds are subject to stringent fire and safety regulations, being required to conform to the highest of standards. As a result, developers, including Waterstone Homes, include features such as smoke alarms, high-performance locks, security lighting as part of their standard specifications.


Sprinklers are also


now included to ensure new build safety is of the highest standard. Warranties are provided by NHBC (National House Building Council), LABC (Local Authority Building Control), or other similar organisations, ensuring today’s regulations are followed. For an older property we would advise spending extra money on an extensive survey, which can cost on average £1,500, to ensure that you know everything you need to about the home. We would also advise asking the local fire service for advice on fire regulations and fit approved smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where necessary, something overlooked by a lot of people.


How does the purchasing process differ between a new build and a re-sale property?


One of the undeniable and overriding advantages of new builds, which older homes simply cannot compete with, is the absence of a seller – the very factor which can gazump or go back on a deal. New builds offer a chain free acquisition making the whole purchasing process much simpler, easier and stress free. The only stress you will have is making the big decisions of how to personalise your home. So many people doubt themselves and want to change what they have ordered, which is why Waterstone Homes offers consultations with an interior designer to help make this process a little easier - something our customers find invaluable.


14 New Homes Wales and the South West


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